Optimising the use of public cloud in your business
Cloud is no longer a brand new technology, it’s come of age. It’s embedded in many businesses as the focal point of digital transformation efforts and in consumer life through things like cloud-based apps and gaming on-demand. Cloud technology has already proven its worth and most businesses have already adopted it in some form - not asking ‘why cloud?’ but rather ‘what cloud?’ However, it’s clear some businesses are pulling ahead in the cloud journey. So what are they doing differently?
Cloud, especially easily adoptable public cloud, can lead to rapid business changes. Here we look at two cloud considerations that may be overlooked by stretched IT teams, but when given proper focus can turbocharge your use of the cloud and unlock a range of financial and business benefits.
You’re already a cloud convert, but did you do it right?
Shifting some, or all, of a business’s IT, data, apps and processes to the cloud has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary for most. And that’s probably how it should be –test the water, figure out what works, what requires tweaking and what isn’t ready to move yet. The very nature and flexibility of cloud, especially public cloud, lets businesses dictate their pace of adoption. Some have leapt into a cloud-first mentality, while others have a more measured approach.
The challenge now for many organisations (even those fairly advanced along the cloud journey) is that a wide-scale migration to the cloud over a prolonged period, with multiple stakeholders, vendors and technologies has led to a lack of cohesion and oversight of the use of cloud within the business. There might be diverse cloud silos, variations in standards and there isn’t always central visibility of the costs, leading to waste and inefficiencies. In short, many of the things the cloud proposes to help you tackle from the old world of IT rearing their head! It’s time to take a pit stop on your cloud journey, to tackle these pressing considerations (without losing momentum) in order to ultimately drive greater business speed and results.
So where should you start? Here are two essential areas to check before continuing your journey:
One: Controlling your cloud costs
IT managers love efficiency. Finance directors want cost-effectiveness. The cloud should satisfy both groups. But only if you really understand what you’re spending, what you’re getting for your money, and whether that’s really what your business really needs.
The reality is that cloud costs can spiral out of control if left unchecked. Public cloud services in particular with their ability to offer instant, on-demand scalability. Anyone with a credit card can spin up services. With that kind of availability, there isn’t always central oversight of the costs. With many businesses using multiple clouds, this lack of oversight is amplified and can lead to wasted cloud resource, failure to decommission redundant services and spikes in usage that leave you needlessly paying a premium.
Start with an audit. Examine all the cloud services you’re using and what they’re costing you. And we don’t mean the monthly bill, we mean the per-second cost, because that’s the time horizon in this new world. It’s only by getting down to this level of insight that you’ll be able to identify the best opportunities for savings.
Two: Changing old habits and truly adopting a cloud-first culture
A wholesale overnight cloud shift has been improbable and impractical for most organisations – regardless of their size and budget. Many businesses have hybrid estates with a combination of on-premises and various cloud-based capabilities and resources.
Cloud transformation requires organisations to rapidly evolve and embrace new ways of working and thinking, breaking long-ingrained behaviours and old habits. For example, taking a short term of IT used to be a recipe for failure. But the cloud means that you pay for what you need right now. You don’t need to scale your infrastructure to cope with expected future peaks in demand, while paying for unnecessary capacity in the present.
Anecdotal evidence does suggest there are many organisations that operate on multiple cloud platforms for different processes but without a central strategy. An organisation must incite a cultural shift to recognise and adapt to the flexibility of the cloud’s potential.
More than this, businesses need to create a set of guidelines that ensure a consistent approach across the whole estate. Obtaining an organisation-wide agreement on cloud strategy is important because it lets everyone involved – from executives to engineers – understand the rules and expectations. The cloud strategy should also be open to challenges and be adaptable to meet a range of needs.
Connecting your people, places and things to the cloud is a journey, and like any journey, sometimes you need to make a pit stop to make the necessary fixes and course corrections to ensure you get to your destination and achieve your end goals.